ARS scientist seeks honey bee disease controls

by Kim Kaplan, Agricultural Research Service

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist Steven Cook will be leading a $1 million funded international consortium of scientists to seek new controls for Varroa mites, honey bees’ number one problem.

Cook, with the Bee Research Laboratory, a part of ARS’s Beltsville (Maryland) Agricultural Research Center, will be the principal investigator of a group that will include scientists from the United States, Canada and Spain. ARS is the in-house research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Continue reading

NC State Researcher Awarded Grant to Improve Honeybee Health

by Dee Shore, NC State University

With a grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s Pollinator Health Fund, NC State University scientist David Tarpy is researching the impact of pesticide exposure on honeybee colony disease prevalence and reproductive potential.

Tarpy, a professor of entomology and plant pathology and the NC State Extension apiculturist, recently received a $217,000 grant from FFAR, a nonprofit established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill. The FFAR grant is being matched by a graduate fellowship from the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc., supporting a Ph.D. student in the NC State Apiculture Program, Joe Milone. Continue reading

UK researchers to study pollinator food availability on farmland

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

Pollinators are extremely important to agriculture, accounting for one in every three bites of food, but their populations have been declining worldwide for a number of years. In a new study, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment researchers are evaluating how food availability on farmland impacts bee communities in early spring.

“Managing corn and soybean fields in a way that provides food for pollinators early in the spring could be beneficial to bee communities,” said Clare Rittschof, UK assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and leader of the project. “The goal of this project is to help producers improve pollinator populations on their land by providing an attractive and nutritious food source for them.” Continue reading

Participate in the First Ever Mite-A-Thon

A single Varroa mite infestation can quickly spread and devastate hives across an entire region. Early detection and control are key to supporting honey bee health and preventing catastrophic infestations. That’s why the Honey Bee Health Coalition, which has developed essential Varroa mite resources, is proud to support the first ever Mite-A-Thon.

The Coalition urges beekeepers to participate in this exciting and free event by visiting Continue reading

Build native bee nesting sites to attract pollinating bees to your landscape

By Josh Fuder, University of Georgia

When most people think about bees, honeybees and their hives of hexagonal, wax honeycombs come to mind. Unlike most bees, honeybees are social insects. Only 6 percent of bee species are social.

There are approximately 4,000 species of native bees in North America and 542 species live in Georgia. Native bees nest in the ground or in cavities, like hollow stems or bored holes in wood. According to the Xerces Society, only 250 female orchard mason bees are required to pollinate an acre of apples. This same task would typically require 15,000 to 20,000 forager honeybees. Continue reading

Protecting Pollinators in Urban Landscapes – Save the Date

Two years ago Elsa Youngsteadt and Steve Frank from NC State joined forces with Dave SmitleyHeidi Wollaeger, and others from Michigan State University to organize the first national conference related to pollinator conservation in ornamental plant production and urban landscapes. Over 150 people with jobs in research, extension, industry, government, or NGOs spent 3 days in the North Carolina mountains with a lineup of renowned international speakers.

But this conference was not just about listening; it was also about talking and discussing pressing issues such as insecticide safety and habitat conservation. Folks studying bee conservation had dinner with folks from agrochemical companies. Extension folks trying to find real-world pest management solutions had beers with beekeepers and conservationists. Many of these interactions may not have ever happened without this conference. Continue reading

Feed A Bee announces plantings to celebrate National Honey Bee Day

In Morning Ag Clips

Mark your calendars now! August 19 is National Honey Bee Day, and Bayer’s Feed a Bee will be buzzing across the country to plant thousands of wildflowers from New York toCalifornia – all in one day.

Since 2015, the Feed a Bee initiative has distributed over 3 billion wildflower seeds for pollinator plantings, establishing additional nutrition and habitat sources across the nation. This National Honey Bee Day, Feed a Bee will be celebrating with special planting events to add even more to the pollinator gardens at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New YorkNorth Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and thePlacer Land Trust’s School Park Community Garden inAuburn, California. Continue reading